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At UT Southwestern Medical Center, our caring and compassionate urologic and mineral metabolism experts use state-of-the-art medical and surgical resources to provide diagnostic examinations, effective treatments, and ongoing management for patients with kidney and ureteral stones.
Our specialists are known internationally for their expertise in endoscopic and other minimally invasive procedures for stone treatment. We perform more than 400 surgical procedures for stone removal annually, many of which are complicated cases referred by urologists from throughout the Southwest.
Groundbreaking Care for Kidney and Ureteral Stones
Kidney stones form as a result of underlying genetic or acquired conditions or dietary aberrations.
Stones originate in the kidney and can sometimes remain unnoticed. Once a stone moves from the kidney into the ureter (the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder), it can block the outflow of urine, causing pain and a backup of urine. While the majority of ureteral stones ultimately pass spontaneously, some do not, in which case a surgical procedure is necessary to remove them.
UT Southwestern’s experience in conducting some of the most advanced research into the causes and cures for kidney and ureteral stones enables us to provide our patients with the best possible medical treatments.
Our approach to the diagnosis and treatment of stone disease has been adopted by physicians and researchers worldwide and featured in specialty textbooks.
Treatments for Kidney Stones
For patients with recurring stones, our team performs an evaluation that identifies any abnormalities associated with recurrent stone formation. Based on our evaluation, we either prescribe medications or recommend dietary measures that reduce the chances of repeated stone formation.
For patients with existing stones, we offer state-of-the-art minimally invasive procedures to remove them.
- For stones that have become lodged in the ureter, our specialists perform ureteroscopy with laser lithotripsy, a procedure involving the passage of a small scope through the bladder and into the ureter, which breaks up the stones with a laser. Ureteroscopy can also be performed for small- to medium-sized stones in the kidney, by passing the scope up the ureter into the kidney, fragmenting the stones with a laser, and removing the pieces.
- Larger and more complex stones require percutaneous nephrolithotomy, a procedure in which a larger telescope is passed directly into the kidney through a small incision in the back. The physician can view the stones, fragment them with ultrasound, and remove all the pieces. This highly specialized procedure is routinely performed at UT Southwestern.
Medication Developed at UTSW
Charles Y.C. Pak, M.D., and his research team have studied more than 3,000 kidney stone patients and another 3,500 people with osteoporosis during the past three decades. Their findings have culminated in the development of several drugs used worldwide – including Citracal for the prevention of osteoporosis and Urocit-K, or potassium citrate, for the control of kidney stones – as well as widely recognized diagnostic methods for measuring risk factors for kidney stones.
Kidney Stone Prevention
UT Southwestern’s Mineral Metabolism Center is internationally renowned and provides comprehensive metabolic evaluation and medical therapy for recurrent stone formers. Many of the diagnostic protocols and medical treatments for stone prevention used worldwide were developed at UT Southwestern.
Our clinicians and researchers continually investigate new ways to help prevent stones while also developing innovative treatments for their fast and painless removal. Because we see more than 500 stone patients annually, we are in a unique position to recruit patients for trials evaluating drug and dietary therapies.
UT Southwestern is currently enrolling participants in a clinical trial sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) called PUSH (The Prevention of Urinary Stones with Hydration). This trial is testing behavioral strategies to improve fluid intake and prevent kidney stone recurrence. Get more information about this study or contact the clinical research coordinator, Cynthia Rangel, at 214-645-8787 or Cynthia.firstname.lastname@example.org.